COVID-19 fight does not lead to pollution: environmental ministry

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/10 13:53:40

A worker pushes a trolley full of infectious medical waste in the Zhongfa Xincheng branch of Wuhan Tongji Hospital on February 18. As medical waste has doubled in the city, the Zhongfa Xincheng branch of Wuhan Tongji Hospital has designated an open-air area as a temporary place for piling infectious medical waste generated by the hospital. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

China has disposed of 136,000 tons of medical waste since the COVID-19 outbreak in late January, environmental authorities said on Tuesday. China has reached the goal of disposing waste the same day it is produced.

Around China, in 358 cities, the total capability of medical waste disposal jumped from 4,902 tons daily before January 20 to 6,022 tons now, a 23 percent increase, Zhao Qunying, director of the Emergency Management Office of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said at the ministry's first ever online press conference on Tuesday. 

Zhao noted that the monitoring of urban air quality, surface water and sources of water showed no adverse effect on the environment due to the epidemic prevention work since the outbreak.

The capability of daily medical waste disposal increased by a factor 2.7  in Central China's Hubei Province, the epicenter, after the COVID-19 outbreak hit, and by a factor of 4.3 in its capital city Wuhan, according to Zhao.

With the capability increasing, the load-factor of medical waste disposal has consistently been  around 50 percent in China, meeting the country's needs. On Saturday, the country disposed 3,249.9 tons of medical waste.

Meanwhile, to promote the production of emergency supplies and companies' resumption of work, the ministry has provided emergency services to 1,300 projects, involving "exemptions" on environment protection assessments and radiation safety permission.

To encourage and guide the resumption of work, some on-site environmental inspections have been exempted, said Xu Bijiu, director of the General Office of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.


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